Notes & Quotes: Rod Woodson
Class of 2009 Enshrinee
Woodson played four different positions in addition to returning kicks and punts while setting 13 school records at Purdue.
Rod qualified for the 1984 Olympic Trials in the 110-meter hurdles.
He was honored with the Ed Block Courage Award in 1996 after his recovery from an ACL injury yet played in the playoffs that season. He was the first player to return in the same season after tearing his ACL.
As a youth, he idolized Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler.
Woodson ranks third all-time with 71 career interceptions. He intercepted 42 different players.
Rod had intercepted six different Hall of Fame quarterbacks – Troy Aikman, John Elway, Jim Kelly, Joe Montana, Warren Moon, and Steve Young. He intercepted a seventh Hall of Famer when he picked off RB Marcus Allen.
Scored a touchdown on his first ever NFL interception. The play came on a 45-yard interception return against the Cincinnati Bengals’ Boomer Esiason on Nov. 22, 1987.
Woodson had 38 interceptions as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers; three with San Francisco; 20 with the Baltimore Ravens; and 10 during his final two seasons with the Oakland Raiders.
Rod broke fellow Hall of Famer Emlen Tunnell’s record for touchdowns on interception returns when he picked off Peyton Manning in the closing moments of a game against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 2, 2001.
Woodson’s last career interception he returned for a touchdown was the longest return of his career, a 98-yarder against the Denver Broncos’ Brian Griese on Monday Night Football.
Nine of his 12 career interceptions returned for a TD came on plays of more than 40 yards.
His lone fumble return for a touchdown (42 yards) came against the Bengals in 1996.
“Rod is a tremendous athlete. He is going to be a great player in this league if he keeps working.” - Tony Dungy, then defensive coordinator of the Steelers
“I can understand why he’s been a successful performer in this league. He has tremendous personal pride in everything he does, including not only his play but his preparation. He’s got great ball skills…great hands.” – Marty Schottenheimer, former NFL coach
“Woodson is the kind of player who can make other players better because he’ll be able to show them how to position themselves, how to make plays.” – Carmen Policy, 49ers President after the team signed him in 1997
“Great players make great things happen. It’s not because of their talents. It’s because of their dimensions. He’s a solid guy and solid players make solid decisions in this game. You need a solid person who has the confidence in himself and can get the job done.” - Ronnie Lott, Hall of Fame safety
“He has a presence about him; the great ones often do. I’m sure Charles Barkley or Michael Jordan or Cal Ripken have a presence about them when they enter a room. Rod has that same air about him.” - Jim Mora Jr., who served as Rod’s defensive back coach
“My biggest fear is self-failure, not living up to my abilities. I’m my own worst critic. I’m hard on myself about everything. It’s scary not to be successful.” – Rod Woodson
"He, in my opinion, might be the greatest athlete that Chuck Noll ever drafted. And that’s saying a lot when you think of all the Hall of Famers. This guy was special.” – Mel Blount, Hall of Fame cornerback